By John Gronquist Hack Shack Games 5e Level 1
It’s a story as old as time. Boy meets girl. Girl meets abandoned well. Boy chases girl down abandoned well only to find horrors beyond their worst nightmares.. Perhaps those old tales about ‘ol Grim Jack and Granny Hentooth lurking in a world below the water weren’t just silly children’s rhymes after all?
This 68 page adventure has, I don’t know, thirty rooms? In abu=out thirty pages. It’s overwrought and overwritten and the intro is full of shit to justify the shitty shitty choices in the design. A rich Tapestry. Fun for all player types. Bleach!
Look at that! The sun is shining! The birds are singing! I found a bottle of whiskey when I thought I was out! And the last two adventure recommendations from readers have turned out to be decent or better! I’m on a roll! Let’s grab another recommendation from the readership!
It’s fucking trash.
Somehow you end up in a village. They don’t like you or trust you. But, also, they sent you a letter asking you for help? Somehow, in the village, you figure out that you have to get through this wall that surrounds a grove of trees and a well in the center. I guess you learn about the well in the center from someone in the village? It’s not clear; it’s just assumed? And you have some quest to find some missing teens/kids. I think? It’s not really spelled out, again, it’s just kind of assumed. Inside the grove you get the idea to go down the well. Again, I’m not really sure why. I guess you explore the entire grove and figure out the well is the next place? And inside of it you wander through twenty rooms of a temple. And, somehow, from that, you figure out there is a gate room and all these other rooms that require things in them to be placed, obtained from other rooms in the dungeon, to activate the gate. Why do you do this? I don’t know. I guess because you can. And then you enter a six room linear dungeon with a challenge in each room. You find one of the missing people petrified in the last room.
This thing is just trash.
It’s full of advice. It’s supposed to be a “Dark Ride”, like at an amusement park. IE: a railroad. Monsters don’t spill over in to other rooms, that would ruin the tory. You’re told to fudge die rolls ALL the time for the sake of THE STORY and keeping the players alive. “Don’t be afraid to fudge things to get the ending right!” the advice says, at the ending. Because “how any story ends sets the tone of the memory it leaves on those invested in it …” Ha! Jokes on you! I’m not invested AT ALL in this shit. I’m eye rolling and wishing I had gone drinking tonight instead of playing D&D with friends. THis fucking thing is SOOOOO pretentious. Fuck you and FUck Your Story.The story is the one created by the players through their characters, not the crap the DM attempts to impose on them. Fucking railroady bullshit, it is. At some point, future players will look on this era, this style of adventure design, with the derision it deserves, just as we do today with the 2e/Storyteller era.
Is the read-aloud atrocious? Of course it is! It’s boxed. With a blue background. And every one starts with AS THE PLAYERS ENTER READ:. I get it. It’s fucking boxed text. It’s distracting. And it’s long Very long. Multiple paragraphs long. It is no wonder that players pull out phones as their eyes glaze over while the DM reads this overly long garbage. Overly written garbage, ta that. Overwrought. With lots of “YOU enter a narrow hallway …” and “as YOUR race begins …” Loathsome, overwrought writing. Which overreveals details, destroying the interaction between player and DM that D&D thrives on. But, whatever. This ain’t D&D, right? IT”S A STORY. It’s like those video games that are actually video novels, just push a button to advance to the next cutscene. “With theta llooks like a doorway.” It’s fucking doorway. That’s how the text should be written. *sigh*
And this continues in to the DM text, with paragraph upon paragraph spelling out everything. Columns of creature tactics. No use of bolding or whitespace, bullets, etc to make the thing easier to comprehend.
It’s a living hell.
It is all that is wrong with adventures today. Congratulations for reaching the end goal. I only wish you were more popular so as to force more people in to the realization of the emptiness of void within themselves.
And the rebirth that brings.
And a big shout out of FUCK! YOU! To the person who suggested this was good and recommended it to me. Kickstarter trash. Two ratings, both five stars, of course.
This is $9 at DriveThru. The preview is twelve pages. The last two show a couple of houses in the village surrounding the well. You should be able to tell from those how garbage things will be.